Honed during an eighteen month stint in Las Vegas, then the Edinburgh Festival, and last year at the Sydney Opera Show, The Miss Behave Gameshow delivers exactly what it promises – a riotous hour of audience participation of such staggering silliness, that it was impossible not to be drawn in.
The show was presented on the stage of The Playhouse which for the season was converted into a grungy theatre restaurant decorated with neon-coloured Lurex curtains, cardboard props, and cardboard signs proclaiming such faux existentialisms as Nothing Means Anything – Don’t Ask Don’t Get – Don’t Tell Me What to don’t – Life’s Not Fair.
The self-proclaimed, talking Glitter ball, Miss Behave, (London cabaret artist, Amy Saunders) and her assistant, Tiffany (Brett Pfister, tall, lanky, tattooed, mustachioed and wearing worryingly-short shorts) were already on stage when the audience entered. They directed people to their plastic chairs, occasionally chatting with someone, or pointing out the bar, but generally going about their business setting up props, or relaxing with a book.
Although she resolutely refused to commence the show before the advertised starting time, when that was reached, Miss Behave flew into action, quickly divided the audience into two teams based on the brand of their iPhones, explained the rules of the game, which most, including her, ignored, and displayed the array of prizes up for grabs, which included a used VHS tape, a roll of toilet paper and a vintage sanitary pad.
Then for the next hectic hour Miss Behave was the quiz master, judge and jury, asking generally unanswerable questions, allotting and subtracting points at breakneck speed for anything and everything. No-one was pulled up on stage or embarrassed, but as Miss Behave cheerfully doled out helpful hints for coping with life between issuing penalties to teams for breeches like, not speaking up quickly enough, or not being disappointed enough at not winning, it became hard for even the most reluctant audience member to resist being caught up in the excitement and the silliness of supporting their own team.
Whenever there was a break in the barrage of questions, Tiffany would demonstrate his amazing flexibility with an eye-watering interpretive dance. At one point Miss Behave stunned with her act which involved a rose and her tongue, before a couple called Matt and Svetlana charmed with a graceful quick-change act which turned chaotic when a wardrobe malfunction left them both naked and confused.
Almost predictably the performance ended in a bunfight. Literally, when the audience burnt off their over-excitement pelting each other with hundreds of coloured plastic balls showered from the stage. Silly?… Of course. Cheeky?… Occasionally. Bawdy?… Definitely, but as presented here with such underlying skill and chutzpah, terrific fun.
The Miss Behave Gameshow
The Playhouse – Canberra Theatre Centre, London Circuit, Canberra
Performance: Friday 1 February 2019
Season: 31 January – 2 February 2019
Image: The Miss Behave Gameshow (supplied)
Review: Bill Stephens OAM